Open main menu

Poems: Miscellaneous.

THE BIRDLET.

IV. 133.

In exile I sacredly observe
The custom of my fatherland:
I freedom to a birdlet give
On Spring's holiday serene.
And now I too have consolation:
Wherefore murmur against my God
When at least to one living being
I could of freedom make a gift?


1823.


THE NIGHTINGALE.

IV. 45.

In silent gardens, in the spring, in the darkness of the night
Sings above the rose from the east the nightingale;
But dear rose neither feeling has, nor listens it,
But under its lover's hymn waveth it and slumbers.


Dost thou not sing thus to beauty cold?
Reflect, О bard, whither art thou striding?
She neither listens, nor the bard she feels.
Thou gazest? Bloom she does; thou callest?—
Answer none she gives!


1827.


THE FLOWERET.

IV. 95.

A floweret, withered, odorless
In a book forgot I find;
And already strange reflection
Cometh into my mind.


Bloomed, where? when? In what spring?
And how long ago? And plucked by whom?
Was it by a strange hand? Was it by a dear hand?
And wherefore left thus here?


Was it in memory of a tender meeting?
Was it in memory of a fated parting?
Was it in memory of a lonely walk?
In the peaceful fields or in the shady woods?


Lives he still? Lives she still?
And where their nook this very day?
Or are they too withered
Like unto this unknown floweret?


1828.


THE HORSE.

IV. 271.

Why dost thou neigh, О spirited steed,
Why thy neck so low,
Why thy mane unshaken
Why thy bit not gnawed?
Do I then not fondle thee?
Thy grain to eat art thou not free?
Is not thy harness ornamented,
Is not thy rein of silk,
Is not thy shoe of silver,
Thy stirrup not of gold?


The steed in sorrow answer gives:
Hence am I quiet
Because the distant tramp I hear,
The trumpet's blow and the arrow's whizz;
And hence I neigh, since in the field
No longer feed I shall,
Nor in beauty live and fondling,
Neither shine with harness bright.
For soon the stern enemy
My harness whole shall take
And the shoes of silver
Tear he shall from feet mine light.
Hence it is that grieves my spirit:
That in place of my chaprak
With thy skin shall cover he
My perspiring sides.


1833.


TO A BABE.

IV. 144.

Child, I dare not over thee
Pronounce a blessing;
Thou art of consolation a quiet angel:
May then happy be thy lot.…


THE POET.

(IV. 2).

Ere the poet summoned is
To Apollo's holy sacrifice
In the world's empty cares
Engrossed is half-hearted he.


His holy lyre silent is
And cold sleep his soul locks in;
And of the world's puny children,
Of all puniest perhaps is he.


Yet no sooner the heavenly word
His keen ear hath reached,
Than up trembles the singer's soul
Like unto an awakened eagle.


The world's pastimes him now weary
And mortals' gossip now he shuns
To the feet of popular idol
His lofty head bends not he.


Wild and stern, rushes he,
Of tumult full and sound,
To the shores of desert wave,
Into the widely-whispering wood.


1827.


TO THE POET.

SONNET.


(IV. 9).

Poet, not popular applause shalt thou prize!
Of raptured praise shall pass the momentary noise;
The fool's judgment hear thou shalt, and the cold mob's laughter—
Calm stand, and firm be, and—sober!


Thou art king: live alone. On the free road
Walk, whither draws thee thy spirit free:
Ever the fruits of beloved thoughts ripening,
Never reward for noble deeds demanding.


In thyself reward seek. Thine own highest court thou art;
Severest judge, thine own works canst measure.
Art thou content, О fastidious craftsman?
Content? Then let the mob scold,
And spit upon the altar, where blazes thy fire.
Thy tripod in childlike playfulness let it shake.


1830.


THE THREE SPRINGS.

IV. 134.

In the world's desert, sombre and shoreless
Mysteriously three springs have broken thro':
Of youth the spring, a boisterous spring and rapid;
It boils, it runs, it sparkles, and it murmurs.
The Castalian Spring, with wave of inspiration
In the world's deserts its exiles waters;
The last spring—the cold spring of forgetfulness,
Of all sweetest, quench it does the heart's fire.


1827.


THE TASK.

IV. 151.

The longed-for moment here is. Ended is my long-yeared task.
Why then sadness strange me troubles secretly?
My task done, like needless hireling am I to stand,
My wage in hand, to other task a stranger?
Or my task regret I, of night companion silent mine,
Gold Aurora's friend, the friend of my sacred household gods?


1830.


SLEEPLESSNESS.

IV. 101.

I cannot sleep, I have no light;
Darkness 'bout me, and sleep is slow;
The beat monotonous alone
Near me of the clock is heard.
Of the Fates the womanish babble,
Of sleeping night the trembling,
Of life the mice-like running-about,—
Why disturbing me art thou?
What art thou, О tedious whisper?
The reproaches, or the murmur
Of the day by me misspent?
What from me wilt thou have?
Art thou calling or prophesying?
Thee I wish to understand,
Thy tongue obscure I study now.


1830.


[QUESTIONINGS.]

IV. 98.

Useless gift, accidental gift,
Life, why given art thou me?
Or, why by fate mysterious
To torture art thou doomed?


Who with hostile power me
Out has called from the nought?
Who my soul with passion thrilled,
Who my spirit with doubt has filled?…


Goal before me there is none,
My heart is hollow, vain my mind
And with sadness wearies me
Noisy life's monotony.


1828.


[CONSOLATION.]

IV. 142.

Life,—does it disappoint thee?
Grieve not, nor be angry thou!
In days of sorrow gentle be:
Come shall, believe, the joyful day.


In the future lives the heart:
Is the present sad indeed?
'T is but a moment, all will pass;
Once in the past, it shall be dear.


1825.


[FRIENDSHIP.]

III. 201.

Thus it ever was and ever will be,
Such of old is the world wide:
The learned are many, the sages few,
Acquaintance many, but not a friend!


[FAME.]

III. 102.

Blessed who to himself has kept
His creation highest of the soul,
And from his fellows as from the graves
Expected not appreciation!
Blessed he who in silence sang
And the crown of fame not wearing,
By mob despised and forgotten,
Forsaken nameless has the world!
Deceiver greater than dreams of hope,
What is fame? The adorer's whisper?
Or the boor's persecution?
Or the rapture of the fool?


1824.


THE ANGEL.

IV. 108.

At the gates of Eden a tender angel
With drooping head was shining;
A demon gloomy and rebellious
Over hell's abyss was flying.


The Spirit of Denial, the Spirit of Doubt
The Spirit of Purity espied;
And a tender warmth unwittingly
Now first to know it learned he.


Adieu, he spake, thee I saw:
Not in vain hast thou shone before me;
Not all in the world have I hated,
Not all in the world have I scorned.


1827.


[HOME-SICKNESS.]

III. 131.

Mayhap not long am destined I
In exile peaceful to remain,
Of dear days of yore to sigh,
And rustic muse in quiet
With spirit calm to follow.


But even far, in foreign land,
In thought forever roam I shall
Around Trimountain mine:
By meadows, river, by its hills,
By garden, linden nigh the house.


Thus when darkens day the clear,
Alone from depths of grave,
Spirit home-longing
Into the native hall flies
To espy the loved ones with tender glance.


1825.


[INSANITY.]

III. 149.

God grant I grow not insane:
No, better the stick and beggar's bag:
No, better toil and hunger bear.


Not that I upon my reason
Such value place; not that I
Would fain not lose it.


If freedom to me they would leave
How I would lasciviously
For the gloomy forest rush!


In hot delirium I would sing
And unconscious would remain
With ravings wondrous and chaotic.


And listen would I to the waves
And gaze I would full of bliss
Into the empty heavens.


And free and strong then would I be
Like a storm the fields updigging,
Forest-trees uprooting.


But here 's the trouble: if crazy once,
A fright thou art like pestilence,
And locked up now shalt thou be.


To a chain thee, fool, they 'll fasten
And through the gate, a circus beast,
Thee to nettle the people come.


And at night not hear shall I
Clear the voice of nightingale
Nor the forest's hollow sound,


But cries alone of companions mine
And the scolding guards of night
And a whizzing, of chains a ringing.


1833.


[DEATH-THOUGHTS.]

IV. 93.

Whether I roam along the noisy streets
Whether I enter the peopled temple,
Whether I sit by thoughtless youth,
Haunt my thoughts me everywhere.


I say, Swiftly go the years by:
However great our number now,
Must all descend the eternal vaults,—
Already struck has some one's hour.


And if I gaze upon the lonely oak
I think: the patriarch of the woods
Will survive my passing age
As he survived my father's age.


And if a tender babe I fondle
Already I mutter, Fare thee well!
I yield my place to thee. For me
'T is time to decay, to bloom for thee


Every year thus, every day
With death my thought I join
Of coming death the day
I seek among them to divine.


Where will Fortune send me death?
In battle? In wanderings, or on the waves?
Or shall the valley neighboring
Receive my chilled dust?


But tho' the unfeeling body
Can everywhere alike decay,
Still I, my birthland nigh
Would have my body lie.


Let near the entrance to my grave
Cheerful youth be in play engaged,
And let indifferent creation
With beauty shine there eternally.


1829.


[RIGHTS.]

IV. 10.

Not dear I prize high-sounding rights
By which is turned more head than one;
Not murmur I that not granted the Gods to me
The blessed lot of discussing fates,
Of hindering kings from fighting one another;
And little care I whether free the press is.


All this you see are words, words, words!
Other, better rights, dear to me are;
Other, better freedom is my need.…
To depend on rulers, or the mob—
Is not all the same it? God be with them!
To give account to none; to thyself alone
To serve and please; for power, for a livery
Nor soul, nor mind, nor neck to bend:
Now here, now there to roam in freedom
Nature's beauties divine admiring,
And before creations of art and inspiration
Melt silently in tender ecstasy—
This is bliss, these are rights!.…


THE GYPSIES.

IV. 157.

Over the wooded banks,
In the hour of evening quiet,
Under the tents are song and bustle
And the fires are scattered.


Thee I greet, О happy race!
I recognize thy blazes,
I myself at other times
These tents would have followed.


With the early rays to-morrow
Shall disappear your freedom's trace,
Go you will—but not with you
Longer go shall the bard of you.


He alas, the changing lodgings,
And the pranks of days of yore
Has forgot for rural comforts
And for the quiet of a home.


THE DELIBASH.

IV. 155.

Cross-firing behind the hills:
Both camps watch, theirs and ours;
In front of Cossaks on the hill
Dashes 'long brave Delibash


О Delibash, not to the line come nigh,
Do have mercy on thy life;
Quick 't is over with thy frolic bold,
Pierced thou by the spear shalt be


Hey, Cossak, not to battle rush
The Delibash is swift as wind;
Cut he will with crooked sabre
From thy shoulders thy fearless head.


They rush with yell: are hand to hand;
And behold now what each befalls:
Already speared the Delibash is
Already headless the Cossak is!